The Labor party’s PNG solution and the LNP’s “Operation Sovereign Borders” have drawn criticism from Non-Government Organisations at home and abroad.
Among these groups are the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Refugee Council of Australia who have labelled the policies “immature and inappropriate” which neglect the rights of genuine asylum seekers.
CEO of The Refugee Council of Australia Paul Power has accused both parties of overestimating the threat posed by asylum seekers arriving by boat and supporting policies that damage Australia’s reputation.
“Operation Sovereign Borders is yet another deterrence policy that punishes vulnerable people and presents Australia to the world as a self-absorbed nation, ignorant of the challenges faced by its neighbours,” he said.
“Australian politicians need to move on from shrill and outlandish claims about Australia’s borders being under threat and consider how Australia can make a constructive difference, like it did 30 years ago in response to the Indochinese refugee crisis.”
In a statement made to the public the UNHCR has expressed concern over the quality of protection offered under Labor’s policy.
“Australia’s Regional Resettlement Arrangement with the government of PNG raises serious, and so far unanswered, protection questions,” the organisation said.
In a further twist the Greens party have also released their immigration policy promising a “humane, effective and legal” solution to Australia’s asylum seeker issue.
With an election expected later in the year it appears this topic shall remain a flashpoint in Australian politics for the months to come.